John Conyers III launches another run for Congress

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

John Conyers III is officially launching another campaign for Congress on Monday, running for his father's old seat in the U.S. House representing Michigan's 13th District. 

Conyers, 31, joins a crowded field of nine or more candidates in the Democratic primary competing for the open seat in the new district, which covers most of Detroit, Hamtramck, the Grosse Pointes and Downriver communities. 

“I have seen the economic injustices faced by the people of Detroit my entire life, and I strongly believe we need the same social justice advocacy that my father provided during his time in elected office,” Conyers said in a statement.

“Coming out of this pandemic, we need to make sure that our communities, who often receive the least, are heard and championed on the national stage. That’s why I am running for Congress.” 

John Conyers III speaks about his father at the funeral  service.

Conyers III lives in Detroit on Seven Mile, a spokesman said. He ran for the 13th District seat in 2018 but he was disqualified over problems with the signatures on his nominating petitions, an action he tried to fight in court and lost. He has never held elected office.

Conyers' father, the late Rep. John Conyers Jr., served for nearly 53 years in the U.S. House before resigning in 2017 amid sexual harassment allegations and endorsing his eldest son. Conyers, who died in 2019, was the longest-serving Black member of Congress in U.S. history. 

The 13th District is up for grabs because U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, elected to the seat in 2018, has opted to run next door in the new 12th District after the redistricting process and Southfield Democratic U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence's decision to retire.

John Conyers III, a Detroit Democrat, is running for his father's old seat in the 13th District.

The Democratic primary field already includes candidates such as state Sen. Adam Hollier, former state Rep. Sherry Gay Dagnogo, former Detroit City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, attorney Portia Roberson, former Detroit police Chief Ralph Godbee, attorney Michael Griffie and state Rep. Shri Thanedar.

Conyers in a statement indicated his campaign will focus on economic justice issues  including housing reform and shoring up Social Security and disability programs;  criminal justice reform and health care reform including access to mental health care.

The primary election for U.S. House is Aug. 2.